Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Photo Essay on St. Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto -- 1

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The downtown Toronto today was awash with the green and thousands of people converged there in festive mood. It was the 23rd annual St. Patrick's Day parade, an important festivity of the people of Irish origin. St. Patrick's Parade Society organizes this event honouring St. Patrick, a Catholic saint who is also the patron of Ireland. Although St. Patrick's Day officially falls on March 17, his feast day in the Catholic calendar, the parade is held on the previous Sunday.

Mississauga (a township of Toronto) Mayor Hazel McCallion, who herself is of Irish origin, was the Grand Marshall of this year's parade. Mr. Declan Kelly, the ambassador of Ireland to Canada, was also present in the parade.

More than a dozen colorfully decorated floats, marching bands and dancing troupes took part in the parade. People of Irish origin as well as non-Irish ethnic groups enthusiastically participated in these festivities. Thousands of onlookers on both sides of the parade cheered them.

Irish-owned pubs and taverns were flowing with green beer and other alcoholic drinks. The Irish has a world-wide name for their drinking habits!

The Irish and their descendants in various parts of the world are fiercely proud of St. Patrick (around 387 - 493 AD), who converted pagan Ireland to Christianity. Although originally an Englishman from England, St. Patrick is considered an Irish because of his dedication in bringing the good news of Christ to the "uncivilized" Irish people. One interesting legend is still prevalent today that Ireland still does not have any snake on its soil because St. Patrick drove them away from there!

Why do the Irish and their descendants proudly use green colour during their festivities? This colour comes from the shamrock -- an Irish word for a kind of clover leaf -- with three leaflets. St. Patrick is famously known to have used shamrock while explaining the mystery of the Holy Trinity -- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The flag of Ireland has three colours -- green (signifying the Catholics), orange (the Protestants) and white (the unity between the Catholics and Protestants).

Now let's have a look at various aspects of St. Patrick's Day parade in Toronto.


Photo (Toronto: March 14, 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo by Mary D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Photo © Jerome D'Costa

(To be continued)
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